It is high time that Greece has its first female president. Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, a former high court Judge, sworn in as president on 13th March 2020.
She was nominated by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as non-partisan Candidate, who attained support from a large number of political candidates. Surely, Sakellaropoulou was favored by all big parties two months prior to the swearing by 261-33 votes, where more than 200 out of 300 votes are required to win. Some legislators were absent.
The main issues the President is concerned about in the present situation is the Corona Virus battle and the migration crisis. The Swearing-in was planned considering the COVID-19 outbreak. Greece has 117 cases so far, hence is taking actions to reduce the spread of the virus among citizens. However, missing out the special occasion of having the country’s first female president was tough to miss out and there was a small crowd eventually. There was also a live telecast on television throughout the ceremony.
It is known that Greece has a lower number of women in its senior parliament positions. Only five positions were held by women in the cabinet. Greece is known to lack behind its fellow European countries in terms of having women in Senior level politics. When last checked in 2017, Greece was almost in the last when ranked for Gender Equality by the European Institute for Gender Equality.
This step is considered to be taken as a counter step to the criticism received by the prime minister. Yet, this could possibly be an influence on other women, looking forward to serving their country through politics. As Sakellaropoulou said,
“I hope that the election of a woman for the first time to the highest position of the country will improve the position of all women in the country, both in the family and in society.”
Prime Minister added, ” Our country enters, with more optimism, into a new decade”, to his statement “a window to the future”. The optimism is also expected to reach out to people and have an impact despite the everlasting financial crisis and political turbulence in Greece. When a poll was conducted by MRB pollsters, there was 55% optimism among people.
Unsurprisingly, it is not the first time for the president to get into first female positions. She first created history 15 months earlier when she became the helm of the highest court. She was practically an outsider in the politics, to be elected as a president. Whatsoever, she was supported in the High Court by the then ruling party, leftist administration. Now, she is supported immensely by major political parties with the main support of the Prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Gender Pay Gap in Greece was more than 12% in 2017. This move is expected to see a different perspective, that is when the current chaotic issue of the world- COVID-19 is in some way taken care of. The president stated her other goals to work on, including the immigration process, where Greece would allow as many refugees as possible to settle in Greece. There were issues with migrants from Turkey, where the bodyguards within the borders of Greece went rough. She stated, pointing towards Turkey, “Greece being called to thwart the aggression of those who, using human pain, want to harm our national sovereignty. Supposedly the president supported the migrant children’s citizenship even before her presidency as a Human rights activist.
Sakellaropoulou is the daughter of a Supreme Court Judge, raised in Greece’s Northern Metropolis. Her career with her expertise on environmental and constitutional law went vanguard while living among politicians in Central Athens. Being exposed from early life and well-read possibly made it possible to remove certain barriers for her to come to this position. Despite education, not every woman could crack the unsettled politics with never-ending crisis in such a short span of time.
While it is a rare move for Greece in terms of Cultural aspects of having a woman in senior positions, the fact that the 63-year-old without much history in politics is another surprise from the country.
From the latest data received in November, 2019, the police records show that there is a 34.45% increase in registered domestic violence cases from 2014-18 in Greece. This data shows the change in attitude among citizens, only increasing the hope of having a female as elected president, a positive impact on Greece’s attitude towards gender equality.
Another quote said by the President, Sakellaropoulou herself is”
“It is time for the women of this country to realize that they can attain their dreams, on their own merits, without facing obstacles simply because they were born women.”